Welcome to the Second Edition of “Smitty the Hater”.
Today, I’m here to give my absolute, unbiased, unfiltered, unbridled overview of Hip hop albums from the first half of 2017. While only clocking in at mere 31 years of age, I am what’s known as a “fuddy duddy” when it comes to hip-hop that I consume.
I’m stuck in the music from “back in my day”. I was challenged about a year or so ago by my Editor-in-chief, Diego Johnson (decent guy), to give some new artist and their music a shot. I got tired of looping Pastor Troy, Ghostface, Max B, and Nas so I began to give new music a shot.
Now I haven’t listened to everything that dropped. There are still a few artist that I will never, and The Smit means never, listen to. So if albums like Drake’s album aren’t mentioned, it’s only because I refuse to listen to any album with a lead single titled “Passionfruit”. Plus, I hate Drake. Young Thug will never find his way onto my 64 gb micro SD card, you hear me.
When cultivating this review, I decided to put each of the albums in one of 3 categories:
This Joint is Slummin’, Dawg,
Jih Like Aight, Young
and Cranking Like A Mug, Though.
Just read the damn column so that you can tell me how much I put your inner thoughts into the words that your partially developed brain just can’t manage to put together.
This Joint is Slummin’, Dawg
I’ve come to grow quite fond of Quavo. I listened to a Migos album earlier in the year (we will get to that shortly) and I believe they are a very talented trio. Obviously Quavo is at the forefront of their success. He has what I call “song-writing “it””. Meaning he has a top shelf combination of creating hooks and a natural understanding/usage of melody. Which is why I can’t understand why this solo effort is so trash. It comes off as more of a quickly thrown together mixtape. Not much stood out besides tracks “Sexy Girlfriend” (Quavo not on the hook, and his verse is trash) & “More” which is ironic, because that’s exactly what I expected from this album, more.
DJ Khaled- Grateful
This album was a complete waste of space. No seriously, I’m running low on space on my phone, thus this album had to go. Nothing worthwhile here. Even the damn Nas song was weak. Your local pop music station enjoyed the four pop singles this joint produced. That just doesn’t work for me. I was quite disappointed at the follow up to the rocking ass ‘Major Key’ album. That was my first time ever taking in a Khaled album. Should have just stopped there. Side note, is there a more difficult rapper to listen to currently than Nikki Minaj? I’ll wait.
Faith aught to be ashamed of her light skinned self. She dropped an album with her estranged husband 20 years after his untimely death. She got big illegal download numbers on this album. Because, you know, Biggie. All we got was a bunch of old B.I.G bars over cheesy ass modern beats. That vibration you just felt beneath you was Biggie rolling over in his grave, baby baby. Just a low rent way to generate any buzz. That ’10 Wife Commandments’ has zero credibility coming from her. The deceased guy in this album left her before he passed. I’d rather get those commandments from someone else. Maybe Rihanna? Nah. Ciara? Nope. Mary J? Forget it. Let’s just not make a remake of Biggie’s classic ’10 Crack Commandments’. Yeah that’s it.
Jih Like Aight, Young
2 Chainz- Pretty Girls Like Trap Music
Caveat. I’ve never listened to a 2 Chainz album. Not even Player Circle. That being said, I enjoyed PGLTM. 2 Chainz is one of the more entertaining rappers out there. Great sense of humor on the mic. Similar enough to a guy he came up under, Ludacris. While his flow may not be necessarily top shelf as far as I’m concerned, he just has a way with his wit. ‘Good Drank’ is a favorite of mine, with a great track and top shelf Quavo hook. Quavo should had used that hook for himself. That ‘It’s A Vibe’ track is smooth, and rocking. I’ll definitely be checking for Titty Boi going forward. A solid listen.
Big Boi- Boomiverse
Another good outing by Daddy Fat Sacks. I don’t call him that, he does. That ‘Kill Jill’ featuring Killer Mike with Jeezy on the hook….. like that. More good tracks like ‘Freakonomics’ and ‘Get Wit It’ featuring Snoop, just to name a few. A very underrated solo catalog Big Boi has. Nothing legendary like the OutKast albums. But come on, who DOES have solo albums touching that catalog?
Jidenna- The Chief
I had heard ‘Classic Man’ which I wasn’t a big fan of. Thought it was gimmicky, radio BS. Thus, Jidenna really wasn’t on my radar. At. All. I downloaded ‘The Chief’ on a whim and it turned out to be a decent decision which is rare for me in life.
I’m a bad decision maker, there will be an article on that coming someday…
Meanwhile back at the ranch, there is plenty of Drake in his game, which I wish wasn’t the case. However, I found myself legitimately respecting this guy’s musical skill. “Long Live The Chief” was some of the best spitting I heard this year. ‘Bambi’ was a really cool song that a lot of us guys can relate to. The most impressive track for me was probably ‘White Niggas’ , very relevant song in today’s climate about black and white America’s roles being reversed. Very impressive. I look forward to more from Jidenna.
This album is right on the border between Jih like Aight, Young and Crankin’ like a Mug, Though. Being that this was my first time fully listening to a Migos album thoroughly, I must admit the young fellas can do it. A great synergy that can only be crafted by legitimately being family. The hooks on the album are nearly batting 1.000. With Quavo handling majority of the heavy lifting in that department. ‘Bad and Boujie’ is probably radio hit of the year thus far. But tracks like ‘Call Casting’ & ‘Big on Big’ make this as an entire effort one you should really partake in. Who know young, southern rappers could be so appreciative? They did just that on ‘Out Yo Way’. An ode to ladies who don’t mind putting their dude first. I really like this album. The start of a standout first half of 2017 for the city of Atlanta.
Cranking Like a Mug, Though
Kendrick Lamar- Damn
Now we are to the top tier of albums that The Smit has listened to in the first six months-plus of 2017. I must admit, in my original outline of this article, I had this album in the second tier. As I sometimes find K Dot just not the easiest listen. He is the ‘Inception’ of rappers. You know what you are taking in is exceptionally good, just don’t comprehend everything that is happening. I even read an article that suggested that the real order of the CD is to be played in reverse from back to front. That’s just too much for my pea-sized brain to process. What I do know is that I gave a quick run through listen of the album to make sure I wasn’t off the mark.
‘Damn’ is like that! People complained that ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ was boring. I wasn’t of that thinking, but I could see how someone could be on that side of the fence. ‘Damn’ had enough bangers to compensate for the listener with ADD. ‘DNA’ is the “Black man Track of the Year”. Period. Such a powerful start to an album. Of course ‘Element’ shortly followed, which is one of, if not the coldest song made this year. Like if this was Rap 2k17, the overall for that track would be at least 97. Followed by the likes of ‘Loyalty’, ‘Love’ Featuring Rihanna, and ‘God’.
Yeah, I was overthinking it. This is another top shelf album produced by K Dot. While I can’t rock with some of those GOAT whispers that were being spoken when this album dropped, he is well on his way to being in the convo. Oh it’s true. It’s ‘Damn’ true!
Rick Ross- Rather You Than Me
I guess you can could consider myself the exact opposite of a Ross fan over the last decade-plus since he came out. Just didn’t think there was much to write home about when it came to Ricky Rozay. Over the last few years, I’ve come to kinda get it a little more. First off, Ross is armed with possibly the best voice in rap. Along with that, he is in the top tier of beat selection – a major key. Though I wasn’t a fan, not many Ross songs I’ve ever heard with a less than stellar beat. As far as my opinion of him goes, it just seems as if he’s put it all together at this point. Lyrics, flow, beats, the works are present on this album. To out it bluntly, this album is Cranking like a mug, though. ‘Dead Presidents’, ‘Trap Trap Trap’, ‘Powers that Be’ Featuring Nas(!) Yeah. Then my personal favorite track, ‘Maybach Music V’ featuring Déj Loaf, who stole the show on that track. RYTM will remain in rotation. And I finally respect Ross as an MC. Uhng!
Jay Z- 4:44
Wadda we have here? Jay-Z done messed around and dropped a Nas album! I call it “Life Is Good 2”. And, honestly I can’t even take anything away from Jay. While I don’t find it to be a legendary, game changing album like so many seem to believe. It does find it’s way into the top half of Jay albums. I personally believe Jigga is at his best when he has aim at something. This album is that. Between his new found conscious MC bars, and superficial openness to his real life issues *cough “bullshit” *cough, he dropped his best album since ‘American Gangster’, undoubtedly. That Hannah Williams sample on title track ‘4:44’ is worth the price of admission alone. Love ‘The Story Of OJ’. But I’m still trying to big pimp, while spending G’s. So credit isn’t really on my radar. But thanks for the million dollar game for $9.99. or however much I illegally downloaded this album for. But yes, all in all, Life Is Good 2 is a solid, short yet sweet effort by Jay-Z. Though there’s plenty snark above, I appreciate the album.
Future – Self Titled
Alright, ladies and gentlemen, this is where things get weird. So Editor-in-chief, Diego Johnson is a self proclaimed member of the “Future Hive”. He’s been basically begging me for a few years to get on board and I was all like “Nah”. So after enjoying a few Future guest spots, I decided to give his self titled album a shot. ‘Rent Money’ came on. The combination of the baseline, melody of the flow, and hook kind of blew my mind.
A fluke, right? Had to be!
‘Good Dope’ followed up. I found myself bobbing my head to a song about consuming impeccable drugs. What’s happening, here? I eventually made my way to ‘I’m So Groovy’, I think I’ve found the coolest song of all time. The ad libs on this track made me laugh, however, I couldn’t get enough of an adult male crooning “mmm hmm” between each bar. What have I been missing out on, was my immediate though. Then I just decided to bask in the moment and enjoy the fact that I was finally listening to a Future album, and no one had a gun to my head. Did I mention the album didn’t feature a single guest spot? Impressive. I was sold. Future is legit. I was willing to leave it there. That’s when everything changed. The very next week……
Future dropped ANOTHER album. There was no way he could go two-for-two in a seven day stretch. Not with these stubborn ears! Boy was I wrong. Turns out my favorite album of the year was bestowed upon me. I would go track for track, but I’d be here for the rest of July.
Three words, front to back.
No skips for me.
While ‘Future’ album was a lot more “trappy”, HNDRXX was a male Beyoncé album. I believe my present-day life has finally found its soundtrack. Women, regret, intoxication, and vulnerability all in abundance. I even enjoyed a track featuring The Wknd and I hate that guy’s music. ‘Fresh Air’ is my personal track of the calendar year 2017. Literally listen to it daily. Album ends with ‘Sorry’. “I ain’t really mean to hurt you…” I really didn’t. Again, my life in a 17 track album. If you download any album this year, this is the one that you need in your library. Trust me, you thank me in the, wait for it…….
Future. Best album of the first half of 2017.
Thank you for reading this much longer than I ever meant for it to be article. Hope I helped you check out some new music, and or save you some space on your hard drive. See, contrary to my reputation, I don’t hate everything. I do hate people who disagree with me tho. So please don’t disagree with me in that comments box below.
Don’t you dare do it.